Sunday, July 24, 2011

History Teaching with Moodle

History Teaching with Moodle offers instructors, instructional designers, and SMEs a clear, step-by-step guide to building a medieval history course which can be used as a point of departure for online college classes, online history degree programs, in addition to secondary-level courses such as advanced placement for history. Author John Mannion uses attention-getting and engaging content including photos and diagrams of real castles to work through building a course in Moodle.

Mannion does a very nice job providing examples, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions. It is not really within the scope of the book to discuss learning theory or to address philosophical questions about why one studies history.

However, it is useful to bear in mind that cognitive skills such as identification, classification, comparison, evaluation, and analysis are at the core of history. Students need to know how to identify significant dates, activities, technological developments, political movements, as well as the people and places of history. At the same time, they need to be able to synthesize information and to be willing to “reprocess” – not simply deconstruct motives and reasons that lie behind events.

History Teaching with Moodle does a very nice job of guiding instructors and instructional designers through the process of creating content and building meaningful activities. He’s also included tips on incorporating audio using opensource software (Audacity) as well as a tool for making beautiful presentation screens (Xerte).

While Mannion does not cover every possible activity or assessment possible in an effective online course, he provides the basics in a very clear way. For the best possible use of Moodle for teaching history, subject matter experts and instructional designers can combine Mannion's approach with content available through shared repositories (MERLOT, etc.), or in conjunction with textbook-provided digital content.

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